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Statewide IPM Program, University of California

Goosegrass  (Eleusine indica)

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Life stages of Goosegrass low growing form seedling erect form flower head, spikelets, florets, seedscollar and sheath

Goosegrass, also called wiregrass, is an annual summer grass and occasionally, a perennial. Except for non-irrigated desert regions, it is found throughout California to about 660 feet (200 m). Goosegrass is normally found in compacted areas or areas of heavy wear; it inhabits agricultural land and other disturbed places, especially those that receive some summer water, and grows close to the ground. It is a widespread and highly variable species that tolerates a broad range of environmental conditions, but does not survive frost. Goosegrass is susceptible to viruses that cause diseases such as sugar cane mosaic.


Turf, landscaped areas, gardens, crop fields, orchards, roadsides, and other disturbed places.

Mature plant

Goosegrass forms a pale green matlike clump with flattened stems that grows in a low rosette. Stems are somewhat fleshy at the base. The mature plant can spread to about 2-1/2 feet (80 cm) wide. The leaf blades are nearly hairless, except for long hairs on the blade bases, collars, and/or upper sheath margins. Leaves are keeled along the midvein near the base of the blade. Sheaths are open, flattened, keeled, and are whitish at the base around the collar.

Collar region

Leaves have a short membranous ligule with a jagged top. It is usually cleft in the center. There are no auricles.


Flowers bloom from July through October. Flowers cluster along stiff spikes. Usually two to six spikes radiate out at the end of the flowering stem (although one to twelve spikes may occur). Sometimes one or two spikes are attached below the terminal cluster.


Seed heads are somewhat similar to those of dallisgrass, Paspalum dilatatum, but are shorter and stiffer. The Fruits are tiny, reddish brown, one seeded, and enclosed in a thin covering.


Seeds are produced even when plants are closely mowed.


Reproduces by seed.

Related or similar plants

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